Log in

Independent Writers
of Chicago

Log in

Stet Newsletter | September 2017

01 Sep 2017 9:26 AM | Anonymous
Stet Newsletter
September 2017

Volume 36 | Number 9

Editor's Note

Stet Editor Cynthia TomusiakCynthia Tomusiak

Do you still read the newspaper? This month I have been traveling for over half of the month and when I travel, I get a paper. Granted it is the free one at the hotel and I get it mostly for the crossword and Sudoku puzzles…but I read the headlines, the articles that interest me first and then do the puzzles during my traveling down time. I would love to get a daily paper and at one time I did but…it took too much time. I love to read and, on average, I would take an hour to get through the paper. Unless I was busy, which was more often than not, and then I did not read it at all. I hated throwing away all of the unread newspapers. (I did recycle them but it felt like I was wasting them since I had not read them.) So, I cancelled my subscription.

How do I keep up on current events? Well, my smart phone, as yes, there’s an app for that. I’m not much for TV and find that there are too many commercials for my taste on the morning news. I had a couple of different apps for news but now am down to one for weather and one for news. I am not getting all of the daily news but it takes less time. A lot less time!

I love to read and, on average, I would take an hour to get through the paper.

How do you get your news? Do you have a recommendation for our readers that you can send into Stet? Thanks!

If you would like to contribute an article to Stet or be featured in an upcoming IWOC member profile, contact me and plan to submit before the monthly deadline of the 15th. Thank you.

- Cynthia Tomusiak

September Meeting Preview

Leveraging LinkedIn to Find Writing Jobs

As an independent writer, you need to stand out and make your services known. Website? Check. A portfolio of clips? Check. A professional social media presence? Umm, your personal Facebook profile with photos of you jamming out to Coldplay at Wrigley Field is not going to cut it. LinkedIn is the key social media site for busy professionals. But do you know how to tap into its power? Join us for IWOC’s September 12th program where Lori Howard, a career identity coach and professional certified coach, will discuss how to create a LinkedIn profile that lands writing jobs and assignments.

Howard launched her company, Unearth Your Worth®, after 15 years of corporate world experience. She will also cover how writers can be found by the jobs they want and how to use LinkedIn to develop and grow professional networks. Howard is excited to bring her expertise to IWOC and help freelance writers market themselves better to potential clients.

LinkedIn is the key social media site for busy professionals.

The IWOC meeting will take place Tuesday, September 12th in Room 4G (4th fl.) at the Gratz Center, 126 E. Chestnut St. / 115 E. Delaware, Chicago, just west of Michigan Ave., adjacent to Fourth Presbyterian Church. Discounted parking (after 5 pm, with validation) is located at the 900 N. Michigan Ave. garage. Networking at 5 p.m. IWOC MEMBERS PLEASE NOTE: Annual Meeting will begin at 5:45 (right before the main program), where members will elect the 2017-2018 Board of Directors and Officers. Please plan on attending. Main program, 6 p.m. IWOC members admitted free and do not need to register. Nonmembers, $15. ($10 if pre-registered at After the meeting, attendees are invited to a nearby restaurant for a buy-your-own dinner to further discuss writing-related topics or to continue networking.

For more information, call 800-804-IWOC (800-804-4962) or visit

IWOC is a nonprofit professional association of freelance writers living in the Chicago metropolitan area whose clients range from local to global. Together, IWOC members represent a broad spectrum of writing talents, consultation services, and specialties serving large corporations, small businesses, and not-for-profit organizations.

- Sarah Klose

Back to top...

August Meeting Recap


George Becht
George Becht
George Becht
George Becht
George Becht

Back to top...

President's Column

Time Traveling: The (IWOC) Year in Review

Laura Stigler

Ok, everyone, let’s put on our rear-view goggles, Mylar jumpsuits, hop into my fully-loaded way-back machine and take a trip way back to October of 2016, when a freshly minted IWOC Board of Directors took the reins and embarked on implementing new plans that would set IWOC on a bold new path. How’s it all been going? Trigger warning: this is not for the squeamish. While much of what you are about to experience will be a series of heady high points, there will be a sudden dip that may leave you feeling a bit woozy. Not to worry. It’ll pass.


The Membership Revamp

IWOC is always being described as a welcoming place for writers. The newly activated membership sign-up process will finally reflect that, making it easier and more affordable to join and renew. A big fist bump to Board Member George Becht, along with Board Member Claire Nicolay and webmaster Roger Rueff for taking up this monumental endeavor and making it happen.

Reaching Out – and Grabbing

At Libraries: It’s one thing to sign up new members. But how do you nab them in the first place? By being “out there.” That’s where IWOC is, thanks to Board member Jeff Steele. Jeff has been working fast and furious, contacting evermore libraries and writer hangouts across the city and ‘burbs where he, Sally Chapralis, George Becht, David Steinkraus and yours truly have been presenting what is becoming quite the popular attraction, “Life in the Freelance Lane: Business Basics for Building a Freelance Writing Career.” And they’re being asked back for encores. Keep checking out the IWOC Calendar to see where and when the next presentations will take place.

IWOC is always being described as a welcoming place for writers.

Elsewhere: IWOC continues to raise its profile, having established a presence at the 2017 Printers Row Lit Fest, the CWIP Publishing Fair 2017 and the 2017 LakeFX Creative Con, the latter at which David Steinkraus, Jeff Steele and yours truly have given IWOC’s “Press Release Basics” talk. We were also honored to have been invited to conduct press release critiques for attendees of Lake FX’s brand new ACCESS Lab program – for which we even got paid! (Monies went straight into IWOC’s coffers.)

Mentoring Program

It has been a question that has come up at every library talk: Does IWOC offer mentoring? Now we can respond with a definitive “Yes!” Check out Most of all, if you’re a Professional Member, please seriously consider volunteering to be a mentor. And since we’re all always constantly learning, every member at any level can receive free mentoring as well.


The one disappointment this year was when we posed the question to our membership regarding who would be willing to mentor other IWOC members. We received a grand total of one response. The irony here is that members are always suggesting we bring in a younger demographic. Well this is one strong way to attract them. Particularly students.

So Professional Members, remember how much you appreciated when someone helped you early in your career? Here’s an opportunity to pay it forward by sharing your wealth of knowledge via mentoring. (You’d be surprised how much you know!) Simply check “yes” to the mentor question now in your Profile.

Simply check “yes” to the mentor question now in your Profile.


Programs of Interest

From super literary agent Abby Saul speaking on “How to Write Superior Query Letters,” to author Danielle Schultz Idiot’s Guide to Investing) advising on “Investing on a Freelance Income,” to our annual October Roundtable where fellow writers get to exchange advice on the business of freelancing, IWOC’s Program Committee has been cranking out the ideas that lure in members and give even more reason for non-members to join.

Newsletter News

It’s about time IWOC tooted its members’ horns! Got some good news about yourself you’re itching to share? A book or article that was just published? A panel you’re hosting? A reading? A TV appearance? Whatever! Send the info to Stet editor Cynthia Tomusiak and she’ll post it in Stet’s newest feature called “IWOC Member News.” Also to come:an “Events of Interest” feature where Stet will post events of other organizations we feel will benefit IWOC members.


Wow, that was wild, huh? But enough of reliving our 2016-2017 glory days. Come October, the new Board and interested members will be holding a special Planning Meeting to discuss how to continue IWOC’s path towards a larger membership via innovative programs, reach-out efforts and other such goodies. So stay tuned. And hold on to those Mylar jumpsuits. Halloween is just around the corner.

- Laura Stigler

Back to top...

IWOC Member Article

Living the Freelance Dream

Diana Schneidman

Work where you want.

Work when you want.

Work how you want.

Charge what you want

Dress as you want.

Listen to the music you want.

Live in your brilliance (whatever that means to you).

Do what you want whenever you want to.This is the fantasy of working for yourself..

If this says it all for you, frankly, I'm concerned.

Yes, as freelancers, our workday may be more flexible, but freelancing is not all about freedom.

We freelancers are paid by our clients to serve their needs. That means work. It may be work that we enjoy, but even so, it's not all play. Freelancing can be stressful and demanding.

Freelancing is a fulfilling choice when we relish serving customers and helping them succeed.

It can be a happy lifestyle, but fundamentally, our top concern must be to land and satisfy clients.

First, we have to land our own work. If we provided a similar service at our job, we were accustomed to work coming in unsolicited via email or the sticky notes that magically attach to our computer overnight. Our assignments may have even been on a predetermined regular schedule. Now as a freelancer, we must always be marketing.

There’s a second challenge that can be even more intimidating. All decisions and indeed, all failures, lead back to us. This can be terrifying. When our freelance work plate is empty, we must determine: Is the disaster a seasonal lull that will self-correct? An economic downturn? A poorly conceived marketing message? Our own laziness?

Marketing takes time and effort. If we are fortunate, we may have a network in place that kicks in quickly and feeds us clients. A weaker network may yield occasional assignments but lack consistency and sufficient income.

Freelancing is a fulfilling choice when we relish serving customers and helping them succeed.

But if our only concern is our freedom, we may be headed for disaster.

Many coaches and other experts encourage people to take the freelance plunge. Be careful. Consider what you are committing to before you jump in.

People of all ages dream of an easier life with greater satisfaction and less pressure. However, if we don’t love the work itself, we may be sadly disappointed.

Diana Schneidman is an IWOC member and the author of Real Skills, Real Income: A Proven Marketing System to Land Well-Paid Freelance and Consulting Work in 30 Days or Less, available on Amazon.

- Diana Schneidman

Back to top...

IWOC's New Members

Please welcome:

Joy Xiang - Student Member

- Roger Rueff

Back to top...

IWOC Board of Directors

Laura Stigler (President), Jeff Steele (Vice-president), Claire Nicolay (Secretary), Brent Brotine (Treasurer), David Steinkraus (Parliamentarian), George Becht, Tom Lanning, Diana Schneidman, Cynthia Tomusiak

Copyright 2011–2024, Independent Writers of Chicago
332 S. Michigan Avenue, #121–W686
Chicago, IL 60604-4434

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software